The pamphlet that hit doorsteps alongside the Autumn 2012 Fabian Review was Letting Go: How Labour can learn to stop worrying and trust the people by Jon Wilson.
Wilson argues that Labour needs to become a movement rooted in people’s experience, not be the party of the central manager. Above all, it needs to trust people again. The politician’s vocation should be to create institutions where those conversations happen, not determine what they decide.
This doesn’t mean Labour should abandon its faith in the state. Indeed, that faith needs to be renewed, because our public institutions embody Labour’s sense of the purpose of politics: to protect and care, and provide a basis for us to lead good lives together. But the argument in favour of the public sector should be an argument for local control and popular ownership.
If you get people in a room together, if people have the freedom to meet, talk and argue, they’ll make better decisions about the things which affect their lives than anyone else.
We hope that this pamphlet might spark conversation the future of Britain’s public institutions.
If you’d like to share your experience of public institutions then please do tell us your story, good and bad – about the way local institutions you work for or live near have nurtured a sense of public spirit and the common good, or how care and compassion have been frustrated. You don’t have to agree with the argument made in Letting Go. The point is that our public institutions need to be places where people can develop a sense of the common good from argument. We will be running the stories of Fabian Review online in the New Year.